Sunday, October 23, 2016

“All things should be as simple as possible but not more so” (Einstein)

Albert Einstein meant that if you have several models (mathematical, scientific, software, etc.) that have the same practical implications, you should choose the simplest one. There is a bit of a joke and a bit of wisdom in the phrase as simple as possible, but no simpler. Was Einstein really concerned that people might do something impossible, that someone was going to produce something that was simpler than possible? No, he was really saying that one should strive for simplicity, but don't go overboard. A mathematics professor friend of mine from the YMCA locker room told me his doctoral advisor told him that math is the “expurgation of the superfluous. But how does this thought deal with the universe and God? Einstein was a deist or a believer in God.
"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."

He looked at creation and saw that even though there may have been a “Big Bang” that there is order and a Creator. "I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it."  He also said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."  I say amen to that premise.  More so I believe that there is a Creator God who made humans and allowed us the mental capacity to study science. Religion is also man made but God’s idea. Moreover, as the great mathematician Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped hole in every heart.” The “God-shaped hole” concept states that every person has a void in his/her soul/spirit/life that can only be filled by God. The “God-shaped hole” is the innate longing of the human heart for something outside, something transcendent, something “other.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 refers to God's placing of "eternity in man’s heart." God made humanity for His eternal purpose, and only God can fulfill our desire for eternity. All religion is based on the innate desire to “connect” with God. This desire can only be fulfilled by God, and therefore can be likened to a “God-shaped hole.”

This concept that Einstein pondered was a logo for the health care consulting and education firm owned by Hugh Greeley, a friend and former graduate classmate of mine. He used it to describe how hospitals and their medical staffs are complex and have processes of quality improvement and credentialing to facilitate and ensure the efficacy of their provision of medical care. Hospitals are sometimes compared to a bumblebee that looks like it would unable and too awkward to fly. Yet their systems need to be simplified as much as possible while still addressing the morass of regulations and bylaws to allow it to fly.  Simplifying and clarifying processes can reduce potential errors and help save lives.   Having worked in 100s of hospitals for 45 years I can relate to the difficulty of this mission. Yet it is in making it simpler that it finds its power.

I find this concept similar to the question of faith in God.  God wrote a 2,000-page manual, the Bible. Yes, it takes understanding and belief, but can be distilled down to simple steps. Many evangelists from Dr. Billy Graham to Bill Bright of Campus Crusade have identified four steps for peace with God. Importantly Christianity is the only world religion where God comes to us in Jesus Christ, instead of our trying to reach Him. This is indeed a simple concept, but yet people often think there must be many things we strive to do to find God and be good enough to be saved.

1.     God created you; loves you and wants to know you personally so that you may have eternal life with Him. “Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, who you have sent” (John 17:3).
2.     Man is sinful, selfish and therefore separated from God. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Our self-will keeps us from fellowship with God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God is holy and we are not, creating a vast separation.
3.     We cannot bridge this gulf by ourselves. We need God. “God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ had to die because of our sins. He was buried, but on the third day He rose again conquering death. His cross was the bridge across the divide. There is nothing we can do to cross accept trust and believe in the One who did this for us. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
4.     It is not enough just to know this truth; we must accept it into our heart by receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, thereby coming into a personal relationship with God. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).  When we receive this gift of grace through confession and faith we experience a new birth.

Receiving Jesus Christ into our heart requires repenting of our own sin and confessing our need for a Savior. When we do so, God comes into our hearts giving us His Holy Spirit through whom we can live a new and holy life by His power and guidance. We therefore make Him Lord of our lives.

In healthcare we need standards and regulations that help bring quality and saving care. In faith we read and receive God’s word or the Bible for guidance toward holiness. One gives a hospital accreditation and provision of better physical healing temporarily. The other gives a person spiritual healing and eternal life.  Receive the gift and know God personally today that you may be saved.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.